After a couple of quiet weeks around the Carolina Basketball program, the Tar Heels secured the second transfer commitment of the 2023 off-season, as Jae’Lyn Withers from Louisville will join the program for the 2023-24 campaign. Withers is a North Carolina native, having grown up in Charlotte, before committing to Louisville, where he has spent the last four seasons. Upon arriving at Louisville, Withers redshirted as a freshman but has played a lot over the last three seasons, starting 64 games. For his career, Withers has averaged 8.0 points per game, and over 6 rebounds, while shooting a respectable 35% from behind the arc. His best season came back as a redshirt freshman, where he averaged 10.0 points and 7.7 rebounds while shooting 55% from the field, and 38% from behind the arc. Given the way the Louisville program has fallen in recent years, it is no surprise that his numbers dipped, but the hope is that with him being surrounded by better talent, he will return to form from three years ago.
At 6-8, Withers fits exactly what Carolina is not only looking for but in desperate need of, as they lost every wing from last season’s roster to either graduation or the transfer portal. His size will allow him to be played both at the small forward, or power forward position, as Carolina may feature a three-guard lineup next season, depending on how the roster eventually shakes out. As great as a defender as Leaky Black was during his time at UNC, Carolina was often playing four on five while on offense, given Black’s offensive limitations. That shouldn’t be the case with Withers now in Chapel Hill, as he’s proven he can produce at the ACC level when he has a strong supporting cast, which will be the case with R.J. Davis and Armando Bacot returning for next season.
Carolina may not have offered Withers back during his time in high school, but given his local background, the staff had enough knowledge of the type of player he was, to get involved with him once he entered the transfer portal. That has been a common theme since Hubert Davis became the head coach, as Carolina has typically gone after recruits they missed out on. Withers becomes the second ACC transfer to commit to Davis, as they also landed Justin McKoy shortly after he was named the head coach of Carolina Basketball. With the mass exodus exit of talent at the wing position this off-season, it was easy to sell Withers on a vision of him having a large role on a team next season determined to make amends for how this season went.
Withers is the first of potentially two commits the Tar Heels could receive today, as the Tar Heels are expected to land Stanford transfer Harrison Ingram. In the meantime, Withers joins Brown transfer Paxson Wojcik as the two players to transfer into the program, as Hubert Davis has made it a priority to recruit “Carolina guys” this transfer portal cycle, to try and re-establish a culture that was definitely broken last season. This is just another step for the program, as they try to return to the nation’s elite for next season, and beyond
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